Sport Cricket World Cup cricket: Australian bowlers ready to counter big-hitting England

World Cup cricket: Australian bowlers ready to counter big-hitting England

Australia's Mitchell Starc in full flight at the World Cup. Photo: Getty
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Australia is ready to show it has the bowling armoury to counteract England’s batting big guns in Tuesday’s blockbuster World Cup clash at Lord’s.

Tuesday’s match between the two arch rivals has taken on even more meaning, with England’s shock loss to Sri Lanka now putting a semi-final spot at risk.

Australia and England have already met once since the defending champions touched down in the country, with Australia winning a warm-up match in Southampton.

That game included few of England’s top-line batsmen, with former player Paul Collingwood even being brought on as a substitute fielder at one stage.

But still the likes of Jonny Bairstow, James Vince, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali all figured against an attack missing Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, as the hosts were all out for 285 when chasing 298.

Australia’s bowling coach Adam Griffith said that game, along with England’s efforts through the tournament, had given his team its blueprint.

“We saw in the practice game that although they didn’t have all their big guns playing … when we execute well and do what we do really well then hopefully that’s good enough against a team like that,” he said.

“We’ll have a few things up our sleeves from watching them through the tournament.

We don’t want to make things too complicated. We still want to keep things simple and do what we do really, really well. We’ll back our guys in.

“When we’re at our best and we’re swinging the ball early and we’re doing our stuff through the middle and the end we can be a pretty good bowling unit too.”

A loss to Australia on Tuesday would throw even more concern on England’s finals hopes.

If it was to drop its last matches to Australia, New Zealand and India – all teams it hasn’t beaten at a World Cup in 27 years – Bangladesh would need to win two of its last three to knock out the hosts.

But still, Tuesday’s match pits some of the World Cup’s best players against each other.

Australia arguably has the best opening-bowling combination, with Cummins and Starc combining for 26 wickets between them at 22.31.

Meanwhile, England is renowned as the most dangerous batting team in the game, with its run-rate of 6.31 since the last World Cup the highest of all teams.

Four of its top seven have a strike-rate of above 115 for the tournament, headlined by Eoin Morgan’s record 17 sixes against Afghanistan last week.

“But, again, you look at the balls they hit for four and six and ultimately what we’re trying to do is make them hit our good balls for four and six,” Griffith said.

“If we do that enough, hopefully we’ll create opportunities to take wickets.”

Joe Root is also crucial, sitting third in the runscoring charts with 424 at 84.8.